Hello everybody, today we are talking about foam rollers. At least five people this week have popped in to see us, with joint and pain problems that have been created by incredibly tight muscles. All have expressed surprise that their muscles are so tight when they "foam roll every day" 🤯
So, it appears the foam roller is not working! Raising the question of 'To Roll or Not to Roll?'
Well let's go for the easy answer.............'TO ROLL'😃 👍.
Let me explain: Foam Rollers are great, but you need to understand how different massage and soft tissue techniques work to appreciate the best use of a foam roller.
At the most basic level, a therapist sweeping their hand along the muscle has the action of aiding the blood flow during venous return and moving tissue fluid around. This has the desirable effect of clearing metabolic waste, such as lactic acid 👍 from the muscles and surrounding tissues quickly and efficiently. This is the action that the foam roller reproduces.
If we let lactic acid and other metabolic waste sit in the muscles after exercise then we get poor recovery and tight muscles, so foam rollering immediately following exercise is the most productive way of using this tool. Combined ideally, with a proper cool down to help flush lactic acid out too.
However, what happens if you come to foam rollering with muscles that are already tight?
Well this is not quite as effective, and most people are also unaware that their muscles are tight as they have not yet reached the level of shortening that results in pain.......yet 😒!
In these muscles lactic acid build up is no longer the main issue, what we now have is shortened muscle fibres and raised resting tone and therapists don't release that with sweeping strokes. What we now need are techniques where we pickup and squeeze and wring the muscle in the way we might knead some dough. This will often be accompanied by the localised pressure of trigger pointing techniques to create a neurological and mechanical release of the muscle.
All actions we cannot re-create with a roller 🤔.
The foam roller is in general a great way of slowing the undesirable, accumulative effects of exercise, namely tight muscles, but it all comes down to what is the condition and resting tone of your muscles before you decide to start rollering.
Well, there is only one way to truly establish that: Muscle testing and assessment by a professional.
So, why not pop down to The Reinge Clinic for a pre foam rollering assessment and if needed a good sports massage to kick start the process 👍.